The Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower Facts. Located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most well known structures in the world. The Eiffel Tower was originally built as the entrance arch for the World's Fair in 1889. It is named after Gustave Eiffel, whose company was in charge of the project.
1. Who built the Eiffel Tower?
The Eiffel Tower, as the name might suggest, was designed and built by Gustave Eiffel's engineering company, Compagnie des Établissements Eiffel.
Contrary to popular belief, however, Eiffel himself has very little to do with the tower's design and actual construction.
The tower was designed by two of Eiffel's senior engineers, Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier.
The tower's design came about after a discussion about a suitable centerpiece for the 1889 Paris Exposition.
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel: Magician of Iron
This exposition was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.
Eiffel would later acknowledge that the tower's design was inspired by the Latting Observatory built in New York City, 1853.
The Eiffel Tower was inspired by the Latting Observatory in New York.
2. The Eiffel Tower was to be taken down in 1909
The Eiffel Tower was originally constructed for the 1889 Paris Exposition.
It was specifically intended as the grand entrance to the Exposition and was not meant to be a permanent feature of the Parisian skyline.
After its official inauguration in March of 1889, the tower was supposed to stand for 20 years and be dismantled in 1909.
This was the total time limit awarded to Eiffel for his permit to build it.
Once ownership reverted to the City of Paris the original plan was to dismantle it.
In fact, part of the original competition rules was for the winning structure to be easily dismantled. But as it provided a great radio antenna it was allowed to remain standing after the permit's expiration.
3. Over 250 million people visited the Eiffel Tower
In 2015, The Eiffel Tower was the world's most popular paid monument.
According to statistics around 6.91 million tourists visited the famous tower that year.
It is estimated that around 250 million people have visited the Eiffel Tower since it officially opened in 1889.
It is also estimated that around 25,000 visitors ascend the tower each and every day.
This volume of tourists inevitably results in long queues. You can buy tickets online to avoid long waiting times of course.
4. The Eiffel Tower never capitulated
In June of 1940, the Nazi war machine triumphantly entered the streets of Paris to begin their rule over the city with an iron fist.
Before the tanks and soldiers arrived almost 2 million Parisians managed to flee.
Those who remained were to begin their long period of underground resistance with one small, but significant act of defiance.
The cables to the lift of the Eiffel Tower were severed so that Hitler would need to climb the steps to reach the top of the tower.
But the embarrassment for the Nazi's wouldn't end there.
German soldiers also had to climb the tower to hoist a swastika over it. This was very large and blew away only hours later.
This was later replaced by a much smaller one.
The Tower would remain closed during the Occupation and the lift was finally repaired in 1946.
5. The Eiffel tower Was 'Sold' by a Con Artist
The Eiffel Tower was actually once "sold" by a con artist to a scrap metal dealer.
The con man in question was one Victor Lustig and his actions would forever label him as "the man who sold the Eiffel Tower".
He originally hit on the idea for the con when reading an article about the dilapidation of the Eiffel Tower in 1925.
At this time maintenance for the tower had become very expensive and nuisance for the city.
Seeing an opportunity he forged some official credentials, met some scrap dealers and tricked them out of a large sum of money.
He even managed to do it a second time before fleeing to the U.S. to avoid arrest.
6. The Eiffel Tower Should Have Stood in Barcelona
The Eiffel Tower was originally intended to be built in Barcelona, not Paris.
The tower's design was rejected by the Spanish, to the great gain of the French.
Of course, in hindsight, this has proved a very costly mistake for Spain.
It would be interesting indeed to see Barcelona as the home for this now iconic monument.
The Eiffel Tower is estimated to be worth around 400 Billion Euros.
Apparently, this is around six times that of the Colosseum in Rome and more than the Tower of London.
Barcelona was almost the home of the Eiffel Tower. Source:
7. The Eiffel Tower grows in the summer
Did you know that the Eiffel Tower actually varies in height by around 15 cm throughout the year depending on the temperature?
This should probably come as no surprise considering the tower is made up almost entirely of metal.
So as the average temperature fluctuates throughout the year so too does the height of the tower as the metal expands and contracts.
Not just that but the top of the tower might also shift away from the sun by as much as 18 cm due to thermal expansion on the side facing it.
8. Eiffel Tower and Hot Air Balloons Do Not Mix
Inventor Franz Reichelt killed himself when trying to test his design for a parachute.
He was an Austrian-born tailer who lived in France during the turn of the century.
During the 1890's and 1900's the age of aviation had begun with hot air balloons and airships becoming ever more popular.
Franz like many other budding inventors got caught up in the hysteria surrounding this exciting field of developing the technology.
By around 1910 there was a growing concern about safety for air travel with many looking to increase the survivability of pilots and passengers alike.
Functional fixed-canopy parachute already existed by this time with other examples that were proven to work from high altitude.
What was needed was a design for low altitude. Colonel Lalance of the Aero-Club de France offered a 10,000 Franc reward for anyone who could develop a parachute that weighed less than 25 kgs.
Reichelt thought he'd nailed it with his design and decided to test it from one of the world's most iconic monuments...
9. You Will Climb 1,665 Steps to the Third Level
If like the Nazi's in WW2, Parisians decide to cut the cables to the lift it's a pretty long walk up the tower.
In total there are around 1,665 steps that need to be climbed to get to the very top of the Eiffel Tower.
But this official figure will only get you from the ground floor to the third level.
You are only officially allowed to climb the Eiffel Tower by foot up to the second floor.
Ascending the staircase to the first floor takes around half an hour, depending on your age and level of fitness of course.
Of course, you might just find yourself getting distracted by the views or the majesty of the tower itself.
10. The Eiffel Tower is married
So boys and girls the Eiffel Tower is not on the market.
This might sound like an obvious thing to say, after all its a tower of metal, but this didn't stop one Erika La Tour from starting a relationship with it.
She even married the tower in 2007.
She is a self-described "objectum sexual" and one whose heart has been stolen by the famous Parisian landmark.
The Eiffel Tower is not her first romantic attachment to an object, however.
She had previously fallen in love with Lance (which was actually a bow) with which she actually became an archery champion.
11. The Eiffel tower uses 20,000 light bulbs at night
To anyone who has seen the tower by night they can attest to how impressive it looks lit up.
But have you ever wondered just how many light bulbs it takes to light up the tower?
According to official statistics the Eiffel Tower uses around 20,000 light bulbs.
It is also illegal to publish any photographs of the Tower when it is lit up at night.
This is because, according to EU Copyright Law, the lighting design is a work of art in and of itself.
Thus anyone who publishes photo will need to seek the permission of the Société Nouvelle d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel.
Of course, this is likely to be very difficult to actually enforce.